Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb. 18: Excellent lead story. Contemptible editorial.

For a change, The Moncton TandT had a front page story that was a real story. The front page editor put the wrong headling on it, using one that  said Moncton High School was safe, and just needed renovations. Perhaps he/she should have read the story before choosing the headling.

The story was unusually well-written and well-researched. It gave a balanced view of reactions to the decision to reopen the school, from the approval by some parents to the disappoval by many teachers. As well,  the reporter took the trouble to to do some research and to ask questions. The answers to those questions indicated that it is very difficult to get reliable results from even expert inspections of such things as reports on air qualiry - so one should pause before jumping to conclusions. This is a sample of unbiased and first rate reporting.

The editorial writer seems not to have read the story - (or failed to understand it.)  The editorial is one that takes us back to the paper's loutish and ignorant rants against teachers and school administors that I hoped it had outgrown several months ago.

The headline was "Stop the politics, focus on teaching". (Perhaps the teachers should start that  focus on teaching by instructing the editor on the proper use of commas and semi-colons.) The implication (hell, let's call it what it is, an ignorant smear) is that the teachers are just goofing off. If that is what they're doing, by the way, they shoulld continue goofing off because that has produced on of the best education systems in the world, and one that is part of  Canadian systems that are way in advance of the American ones  the TandT editorials have advocated.

Thne the writer shows an ignorance of the news story by saying "..it is now known that its long-term closure in October was prematurre and unnecessary." That is not what the story says. It says it that even expert advice can be misleading.

By the way, Mr. or ms. editorial writer, if the school is perfectly safe, why does the government plan call  for a new building in two years?  And if it's perfectly safe even now, why is the government spending millions on renovations? If it's prefectly safe, why aren't staff and students going back into it now?

Editor - do you ever think before you write. Do you ever do any research before you launch into your smears against teachers and administrators? Didn't a light go on in your little head when, after all the reports were in, the government decided the school could not re-open until September, and then only if million of dollars of repairs were made?

This kind of editorializing is not only ignorant, it is loutish. It is the use of a public platform to smear people who have no opportunity to respond. This is not just bad journalism. It is unethical journalism It is contemptible journalism.

Norbert Cunningham's column was, sadly, no better. It shows a surprising ignorance of Canadian literature. It's really not worth reading. It shows no understanding whatever of the effects of media, no understanding of national identities and aspirations. It refers to culture, though obviously in ignorance of what the word means.

Then we have another scientistific (propaganda) report from The Fraser Institute proving that lower business taxes would be good for Canada.  (Ever notice they have never produced a report that said anything bad about big business?)

The day's prize for good journalism goes to Brent Mazerolle who did the story on Moncton High School.

The prize for ingorance, lack of ethics and sheer brainlessness goes to the anonymous editorial writer. I understand now why such writers are always anonymous.

Think, you slanderer and smear artist. Close you eyes and think hard. If it was never necessary to close the school in the first place, why did the government decide not to re-open it until September? And why did they decide to build a new school to replace it so soon?

As for readers, this newspaper publishes nothing that its owner does not want to see. It has conducted a smear campaign against teachers and education administrators for as long as I have been reading it.
Connect those dots. That's where the real story is. (You'll find some of the answers in my earliest posts.)

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